Faster Inventory Counts with Modular Drawers

Yearly inventory counts are always difficult and time consuming, especially with smaller parts. This becomes excessive when, for a variety of reasons, you need to verify stock levels on a more frequent basis; such as quarterly or monthly. However, you can increase space in your stock room and decrease the time it takes to inventory your products using modular drawer systems.

Modular drawers provide very efficient storage, creating more space for parts in your shelving units. The drawers have 100% extension, so the full depth of the drawer is visible when fully extended. So, all parts and components, whether in partitioned compartments or in plastic bins, are easily accessible for viewing and counting.

Drawers with Product Group

This makes inventory counts much faster and easier than working on a conventional shelving unit with plastic bins. You can also take a quick visual inventory at any time without having to pull out each shelf bin and look inside or open up a box and count the contents. Drawers in shelving also help keep inventory parts and components away from environmental dust and debris, as opposed to shelf bins that leave the contents exposed.

Modular drawer systems can be added to your existing shelving to increase the storage space you have available. The drawers are adaptable to most brands of shelving with specific adapter brackets. You can choose how much space you want to convert to drawers, using brackets from 12” to 48” in height within the shelving unit. The drawers are available to fit most standard shelf sizes and range in height from 3” to 14” high.

Space Savings 5 to 2

Drawers can be ordered in a variety of colors. So you can coordinate with existing equipment or mirror your company colors. You can also order drawers in colors to code drawers for certain types of products, making it easier to locate products. And, if you don’t want to integrate drawers into your existing shelving units, all these options are available in stand-alone locking drawer cabinets.

For more information or help in designing an efficient drawer storage system conversion for your existing parts room, Contact us at 401-383-0883 or by email at support@innovostorage.com.

Innovo Storage Systems 1 Goldsmith Street, Johnston, RI 02919

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Modular Drawer Compartment Options

We all know that Modular Drawers are the most efficient way to store small parts. However, you can increase your efficiency by using drawer inserts that complement the parts you need to store. Here are some of the options that are available for Rousseau Modular Drawers.

Partition & Divider System

Partitions are the separators that go from  front to back in the drawers. They install in slots in the drawers and are held in place with 2 small screws that are easily removed to re-position the partitions.RG51_02

Dividers go left to right, snap into place between the partitions, are adjustable on ½” centers, and can be installed anywhere in the ‘lanes’ created by the partitions.

Determine the best width between partitions for your products.  Then choose how many dividers you will want in each lane created by the partitions.  We have several standard layouts that are shown on a separate sheet, but we can customize any layout to suit your specific application.  The usable space in any compartment is about ½” less than the nominal spacing of the partitions and dividers.

Although most Partitions are usually installed from front to back, we do offer partitions that go from left to right in the drawer.  These are useful to separate longer parts or tools that will not fit from front to back in the drawer.

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Bin Cup System

RG20_03Bin Cups are removable plastic bins that are used to store smaller parts and hardware items.  Bin Cups come in 4 sizes and 2 heights. The bin sizes are designed for exact fit in all Rousseau drawer widths. The 2” height will fit in a 3” Face drawer and the 3” height fits in a 4” Face drawer. The bin cups have rounded inside corners for easy part retrieval, are easily removed from the drawer and can hang on any standard bin rail system.  Bins are also available in conductive material for ESD applications.

Groove Tray System

RG35_03Groove Trays are plastic trays that form channel spaces for storing longer and narrow items such as drill bits, tooling, large sockets, files, etc.  The trays come in sets with 2 to 5 channels that are sized to fit our standard drawer depths. There are three usable channel widths: 1”, 1.5” and 2.5” wide.  They have adjustable dividers that can snap in place anywhere along the depth of the tray with an angled back for easy to read labeling.

 

RG30_RG31_02Hanging File Bars are available to store standard hanging files.  The file bars can be installed for hanging front to back (as shown) in drawers from 18” to 27” deep. Bars are also available for a left to right orientation for drawers from 24” to 48”wide.  The drawer must be deep enough to allow for the full height of the files you are hanging.  Keep in mind that some drawer sizes will fit the file folders more efficiently than other sizes.

 

Drawer Liners & Foam Inserts

RG40PVC Drawer Liners are a PVC coated mesh fabric that provide a protective and non-skid surface on the bottom of the drawer.  This is the only protection option that can be installed under our partition and divider system.

 

RG41Foam for Protection is a ¼” thick high density foam that protects sensitive items that are set in the drawer.  This option cannot be used under partitions and dividers, but can be cut to size and installed in individual partitioned compartments.

 

 

RG42Foam for Tools is a 2-part product. The base is a ¼” high density blue foam, under a ½” thick self-adhesive black foam. The black foam is cut out to fit the shape of your specific tool set. Then the protective liner is removed and the adhesive back is pressed onto the blue base layer, providing tool slots with contrasting outlines.

 

RG43Foam for Collets is a 1” thick high density black foam that can be cut out or punched to fit the shape of your collets, mills, bores, or parts containers.  This allows the parts or tools to stand vertically in the drawer, taking a minimum of space, while protecting them from damaging contact with each other.

 

Custom Applications

We have product information sheets with suggested layouts for each specific drawer size.

However, most of our drawer insert systems are compatible with each other.  So, you can mix and match within any individual drawer.  You could have partitions and dividers on one side of a drawer with bin cups on the other. Or, you could have groove trays combined with foam for collets or tools.  We can assist you to come up with the best insert options for your particular application for small parts or tooling.

Contact us with your specific product application and we can work with you to design a storage system to adapt to your product requirements:  support@innovostorage.com

Innovo Storage Systems 1 Goldsmith St, Johnston, RI 02919 (401) 383-0883

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Used Modular Drawer Cabinets?

Used Rousseau Cabinets

A Great Option… IF you can find it.

Today’s competitive economy demands efficiency of every organization.  Evaluating your current capacities, strengths, and weaknesses can lead to creative ideas for improved operations in manufacturing processes, work-in-progress parts storage, maintenance and MRO supply storage, and order picking layouts.  Sometimes those ideas will demand consolidation and reorganization of your storage or manufacturing facilities.  If you have read any of our previous posts, you will know that we strongly recommend the use of Rousseau drawer cabinets or drawers in shelving systems for greater storage density, faster picking and easier inventory counts.

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However, although we know that more efficient storage systems have a high return on investment, installing all new drawer storage products can be costly. So, you may want to consider purchasing used or factory surplus drawer storage equipment from a professional equipment dealer to keep your initial costs lower.

Choosing used or factory surplus industrial drawers may be a good option for several reasons. First of all, if the exact equipment you need is available, then the lead time can be shorter and you can start your reorganization sooner. The cost will also be lower for used equipment; typically 25% to 40% less than the price of new equipment. One very lucky option would be to find used Rousseau brand modular drawers in good condition. The advantage of the Rousseau modular drawer system is that they are manufactured in true North American dimensions and are compatible for installation in most standard shelving sizes. You can purchase drawer adapter brackets for over 30 brands of shelving that will allow you to install the drawers in your existing shelving units. This can save up you to 50% of the cost of new drawers in shelving units by integrating the used drawers with your existing shelving system.

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However, there are some downsides to looking at the used drawer storage option.  First and foremost, it is important to get a drawer system that is sized to fit your specific products. Most of the new drawer storage systems that are sold are designed with drawer sizes and heights to fit a specific storage application. It is not likely that you will find the exact sizes and quantities that will optimize your particular storage situation.

A well-networked used equipment dealer may be able to locate the equipment you need, but it may have to come from other areas of the country where they happen to have more of that particular item.  So, you may end up paying more for shipping charges than you anticipated. Or, since your exact specifications may not be immediately available in used equipment, you may need to be more flexible, and thus less efficient, than you would be with your preferred layout.

You also need to be cautious with the age of the equipment. There is a lot of used equipment available that is very old, often from a company that has already upgraded to newer and more modern equipment. The drawers in question may already be worn and ready to be retired. Investing in equipment that is not in excellent condition may leave you with large repair and replacement costs going forward. There are many older models where parts are not even available. So, before you buy, contact the original equipment manufacturer of the product to make sure you can get replacements components for that specific system.

You also need to be prepared for different payment terms than are customary for new equipment.  Since used equipment dealers usually pay cash for the equipment they buy, they need to be paid sooner than a new dealer who receives terms from his suppliers.

In conclusion, there are two key points that will help keep you safe when making a purchase of used modular drawer systems or components.

The first and most important is to Know the Dealer.

  • How long have they been in the Used Equipment business?
  • Do they respond in a professional manner to your requests?
  • What references can they give you in your field of business?
  • Can they handle all the freight & installation details if required?

The second is to Know the Equipment.

  • The equipment should be available for inspection: in person, by video, or with photographs of the equipment. Verify the age of the equipment (and the pictures).
  • What would be the cost of comparable new equipment? You should have a quote for new equipment as a comparison, prior to the purchase of any used equipment.
  • Check with the original equipment manufacturer to be sure that parts will be available (either used or new) for this equipment in the future.

These are important considerations in any purchase you make for your company: Know your Dealer and Know the Equipment.

For questions or help with any Small Parts Storage Application:

Innovo Storage Systems 1 Goldsmith Street, Johnston, RI 02919  401-383-0883

e-mail us at: support@innovostorage.com

See our used/surplus Rousseau Cabinet Specials: http://www.innovostorage.com/special-sale-items/

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Transitioning from Shelves to Modular Drawers – 5 Points

Replacing standard bin storage shelving with modular drawer cabinets or drawers in shelving units is one of the most effective ways to save space, increase speed and accuracy in order picking, and significantly reduce the time spent taking inventory. However, before you decide on a final layout, there are a few points to consider when designing your system that will make the change easier and ensure that your final layout will support growth and product changes in the future.

Floor-Space-Gained

If your order picking software can assign an inventory item to any available space in your storage system, then your issues going forward will be minimal. This type of system offers the most flexibility in what locations are assigned to a specific product. Smaller products can be stored in a location with other small products, maximizing the efficiency of the storage space. New products can be added at the end of the system in empty drawers provided for growth or be placed in slots vacated by older stock. This type of software and organization will make it easier to change product lines, add products, and remove discontinued or obsolete products.

However, there are storage systems that can make the transition to drawer storage more difficult and create problems in the future. Let’s examine the typical concerns and see how these can be resolved with proper planning during the design phase.

Typical Storage Methods That Create Problems (and the best way to resolve the issue):

PROBLEM 1: Storing products in numerical sequence or grouped by vendor for ease in picking.
This is probably the most typical storage system, but it is not the most space efficient layout. It is easy to locate a part moving down the aisle, counting part numbers as you go. However, this creates two main problems. First, you often have large items on a shelf, right next to smaller ones. This forces your shelf spacing to be higher and wastes space around all the small items because of one larger item.

The second problem is when new items are added to the line that fall in the middle of a sequence of numbers. Now everything has to be moved ‘down one item’ to allow space for the new item. The reverse is true when an item is discontinued. You now have a gap in the system that is not used at all, wasting more space.

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SOLUTIONS: Whenever possible, the most efficient storage is possible when you can store the same sized items together. It may be worth looking into a software system that allows you to reorganize your stock in this manner. If this is not an option, then modular drawers in shelving can provide a middle way solution. Installing drawers in shelving to fit smaller and then mid-sized products, larger products can be stored on the open shelves above and below the drawers. This allows you to keep part numbers in a ‘close to numerical’ sequence, with the full sequence being in a single shelving unit, but some of the larger items moved to the fixed shelves. This can increase storage efficiency significantly, so it can compensate for any difficulty in locating items that are slightly out of sequence.

PROBLEM 2: Keeping a certain class of products separate from others for security or quality control.
This is a common need in many stocking situations. There can be high value or dangerous products that may need to be locked up or secured in some way, separate from the regular inventoried items. Items that come in from a vendor may also need to be checked for quality or inspected before they can be put into the regular inventory.

SOLUTIONS: In situations that require a higher control of product accessibility and distribution, there are a several security options available with modular drawer systems. With drawer cabinets, there will be a single key that locks all the drawers at once. This can limit access to those authorized to handle the products or items in that cabinet. Key systems for multiple users and multiple cabinet locations are available with a master keyed system to allow a supervisor access to all locations. Drawers in shelving can be locked with a vertical security bar attached to the shelving unit that can lock each bank of drawers. Both lock systems are available with keyed locks or are adaptable for padlocks.RE80_02

You can also have single drawers of a group, within a cabinet or in a shelving unit, which can be locked individually. These can be keyed differently from the cabinet or security bar, so that all the drawers in a group are accessible when unlocked, except for certain drawers that would require another key. L3 RF31The highest security would be with a modular drawer cabinet that has a true One-Drawer-at-a-Time mechanism. This would prevent two drawers from being opened at once.

 

Locking doors are available that allow you to lock the entire contents of a standard shelving unit or a drawers-in-shelving unit. These doors come in solid steel or clear polycarbonate and are adaptable to any standard shelving, with or without drawers.

R5SSE-874802_61651[#Beginning of Shooting Data Section] Nikon D2Xs 2011/06/13 14:51:31.4 RAW (12-bit) Image Size: Large (4288 x 2848) Color Lens: 24-70 mm F/2.8 G Focal Length: 40 mm Exposure Mode: Manual Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern 1/250 s - F/9 Exposure Comp.: 0 EV Sensitivity: ISO 100 Optimize Image: White Balance: Preset Focus Mode: AF-S VR Control: OFF Long Exposure NR: OFF High ISO NR: Off Color Mode: Mode II (Adobe RGB) Tone Comp.: Normal Hue Adjustment: 0° Saturation: Normal Sharpening: Medium high Flash Mode: Optional, M x 1/8 (-2/3 EV) Flash Exposure Comp.: Flash Sync Mode: Front Curtain Bounce Flash Image Authentication: OFF Image Comment: [#End of Shooting Data Section]

PROBLEM 3: Expiration dated or time sensitive stock that needs to maintain a First-In First-Out rotation.
Some products have a shelf life and need to be used or distributed within a certain amount of time. It is not acceptable to have older stock left in the back of a shelf that will eventually have to be discarded because it has passed its expiration date. Stock needs to be organized by date in a simple and clear way.

SOLUTION: There are several ways that drawers can help with this issue. Product can be assigned to a specific ‘lane’ within a drawer. Each lane can have a movable divider that can be placed behind existing stock to indicate a batch or time sensitive lot. Newer product can be added to the drawer behind the divider and then the divider removed or product moved to the front of the divider after all the older stock is gone. In larger volume situations, two lanes could be assigned to a single product with a label showing the date code of each group. Older product is chosen first and then when that lane is empty, it becomes available for the next group of fresher product.

RG10_02RG51_02 RG54CROP

PROBLEM 4: Varying inventory levels by a large amount to adjust for seasonal or cyclical requirements.
Due to the seasonal nature of the need for some products, inventory levels can be very high at one time of the year and then drop to a minimum maintenance level for the rest of the year. When this happens with several items in your product line, it can create problems in storage and stock rotation.

SOLUTION: Drawers in Shelving allows for dense and efficient storage in the drawers, while providing shelves above or below the drawer set to accommodate overstock of the same items. Color codes, tags, or a secondary label in the drawer labeling system can be used to indicate that there is overstock for a specific item and give the location of where to find the overstock. The dividers in the compartments can accept a variety of label widths and sizes to help with this type of system.

PROBLEM 5: Your product line is growing and you will be continually adding new products.
Growth is a good thing in most businesses, but can be difficult if the additional items added to your product line are not included in your planning. This usually leads to the disruption of your regular storage system and inefficient temporary storage options.

SOLUTIONS: You can factor in growth with modular drawers in a number of ways. For items that need to be grouped with other similar items, we can leave space in drawers to allow for the addition of new items in that group. An analysis of your product mix will dictate how much space should be made available, but typically 20% of the space in a drawer can be reserved in high growth markets.

With the conversion of standard shelving to modular drawers in shelving, planning for growth is easier. Drawer sets can be added in groups from 18” to 48” high. So, typically you could start with 24” of drawers in a shelving unit (say, 5 or 6 drawers and add another 12” or 24” of drawers as the need for more high density storage arises.

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When converting to modular drawers, because of the efficiency of the drawer system, there will typically be empty shelving units left at the end of the process. These can be used for bulk storage or overstock and then converted to drawers in shelving when the existing system has reached its capacity.

These are just some of the ideas that you can use to plan for the future and ensure that your storage system will adapt as your business grows and changes. Call us or email with any questions you have about your specific storage problems: support@innovostorage.com

Click Here for more information on 5s organization.

Innovo Storage Systems 1 Goldsmith St, Johnston, RI 02919 (401) 383-0883

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Hard to Store Items: Tiny Stuff

There are some items that are difficult to store and retrieve using conventional shelving because of their size. This article concerns smaller items that take up much less space than the full depth of a shelf, such as: smaller hardware items, fasteners, air fittings, electronic components, machine tooling, and repair & maintenance items. Conventional plastic shelf bins can waste a lot of space with this type of item. There are bin inserts for these bins, but there are a number of problems with plastic shelf bins with inserts:

  1. There are a very limited number of sizes of inserts that fit inside existing plastic bins.
  2. It can be very hard to get your fingers into the smaller inserts to access very tiny parts.
  3. They are open on the top, allowing dust and debris to accumulate on rarely used items.
  4. You have to remove the plastic bin from the shelf to see inside the smaller bins for picking or inventory.

The best solution for storage of these very small parts is modular drawers with removable bin cups. Modular drawers are designed to be installed in your existing shelving or are available as stand-alone cabinets with drawers in a wide variety of sizes.

Drawer with Bin Cups

Modular Drawer with Removable Bin Cups

Bin Cups

Bin Cups shown with Partitions & Dividers

 

 

 

 

 

The advantages of modular drawers with removable bin cups are:

  1. The bin cups come in 2 heights, 2″ and 3″ high, and sizes from 3″ x 3″ up to 6″ x 6″.
  2. Bin cups can be divided into even smaller compartments within each bin.
  3. The bins have rounded inside edges for easy removal of even the smallest parts.
  4. These bin cups are sized to fit efficiently into standard modular drawer sizes.
  5. Bin cups are easily removable for inventory counts or for use at a workstation.
  6. They have a clip in the back for hanging on louvered panels or bin rails.
  7. Each bin and divider has an angled back edge for easy labeling of contents.
  8. When used with a modular drawer system with full extension, all bins are visible when the drawer is open, making for easy location of parts and components.
  9. The bin cups can be integrated with other compartment options in the same drawer, such as: partitions and dividers, groove trays, and foam inserts.

Contact us with your specific product application and we can work with you to design a storage system adapted to your specific requirements:  support@innovostorage.com

Innovo Storage Systems 1 Goldsmith St, Johnston, RI 02919 (401) 383-0883

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Designing an Efficient Modular Drawer Storage Cabinet Layout

After you are finished with the article, Click below to try it yourself with our

Online Cabinet Design Tool

In this article we are going to go through the steps required to design the most efficient modular drawer storage cabinet for you application.  By following these steps,  you will maximize the storage capacity of your cabinet or drawers in shelving. Although we focus here on cabinets here, the same procedure would work for drawers installed in shelving units.

We work with Rousseau Metal products that are made in North America. All Rousseau Modular Drawer Cabinets and Drawers-in-Shelving use Standard North American Dimensions and are compatible with most standard shelving brands and sizes.

1. Determine the Cabinet Height & type of Base.
Common Height Options (other heights are available):
28”- Desk / 30” or 34”- Bench / 38” or 44”- Counter / 52 or 58”- Eye Level

Available Heights Crop

Common Base Options (add to the overall cabinet height):
The standard base is a 2” high forklift-able base; raises the overall cabinet height by 2”.
Optional 4” high base, accessible by pallet jack, raises the overall cabinet height by 4”.
The cabinet can also be ordered without a base if vertical clearance is limited.

2. Decide on the Width and Depth of the cabinet
Available Widths: 24”, 30”, 36”, 42”, 48”, 54″, 60”
Available Depths: 18”, 21”, 24”, 27”
The most common sizes are 36″ or 48” wide x 24″ deep, as these sizes will match standard North American shelving sizes.
Another common size is 30” wide x 27” deep; a close match to some metric measured cabinets.

3. Determine the best Drawer Heights for your products.
Available Drawer Face Heights: 3” to 10”, 12”, 14” and Pull-Out Flat Shelves (3” base height).  All drawers have a 400# capacity with full extension, 100% of the drawer interior will be visible. The Usable Height inside each drawer is 1” LESS than the Face dimension of the drawer.Drawers

The space available for drawers in a cabinet is 4” LESS than the Cabinet Height you chose.
So, a 58” eye-level cabinet would have 54” of usable space for drawers, a 30” bench height cabinet will have 26” available. You can install any combination of drawer heights that makes up the available space, based on the face dimension of the drawers.

Try to match the Usable Drawer Height, as closely as possible, to the products being stored.  Usually this involves a full review of your products, including sizes and quantities of the items to be stored in the drawers.

4. Decide which (if any) Insert Options you want in each drawer.
Internal Drawer Configurations can include Partitions (front to back, fixed) and Dividers (left to right, adjustable), removable Bin Cups designed to fit the drawer exactly, Groove Trays for long, thin items, PVC Drawer Liners, or Foam Inserts for protection or for tool cut-outs.

Compartments 1Compartments 2Compartments 4Compartments 3

You can have different layouts in each drawer. Drawer compartment layouts are specific to each drawer size. You can request a drawer compartment layout option sheet for the cabinet size you have chosen.
For smaller fasteners and parts, we recommend bin cups in some of the 3” or 4” face drawers, rather than partitions and dividers, as they are easier to pick from and can be removed for use at a work station, or for ease in sorting or counting of parts.

5. You can call us, fax us, or email us with your specifications and we will provide free quotation within 24 hours.

6. OR, Try it Yourself with our Online Cabinet Design Tool

Phone: 401-383-0883      Fax: 401-354-6610  

Email: support@innovostorage.com

Want this information on a one-page PDF file?  

Click Here: Designing a Drawer Cabinet

Innovo Storage Systems, 1 Goldsmith Street, Johnston, RI 02919 (401) 383-0883

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Running Out of Room? Option 1

Gettting ‘Small Part’ Specific

Are you storing an increasing number of small parts and getting squeezed for space? This post will focus on areas that use standard steel shelving to store parts, either in plastic bins, cardboard boxes or loose on the shelf and offer ideas to increase storage efficiency and save space.

Usually, when you look at your shelving, you see a lot of ‘air’ above the parts and in half-filled bins or boxes. You may also see parts hidden behind other parts and areas of the shelving where it is hard to see exactly what is there. The left side of the image below shows:  (1) Hidden areas that are hard to see, (2) Poor lighting at the back of shelves, (3) Shelves blocking full visibility of products, (4) Unused, wasted space between shelves.

Shelving vs Drawers Cropped

You can gain space and, at the same time, make it easier to find and identify your parts by using drawers in your existing shelving units. The right side of the image above shows:  (1) Shelf spacing sized to fit your product more exactly, with roll-out shelves to access items on the bottom level, (2) Smaller shelf spacing at eye level for mid-sized products, (3) Drawer units that offer full visibility of all products, (4) Reduced wasted space between shelves.

Converting your existing shelving into modular drawer storage units saves space and increases storage capacity. You will also have better access to smaller parts, better visibility, easier picking and faster inventory counts.

This is accomplished using drawer adapter brackets, manufactured by Rousseau Metal. These brackets are available to fit most shelving brands and allow installation of a full line of heavy duty modular parts drawers and compartment accessories.

The Rousseau modular drawers are available in true North American dimensions to match existing shelf sizes, from 18” and 24” deep and from 30” to 48” wide. There are 10 drawer heights available from 3” to 14” high with the usable inside height being 1” less than the face dimension. The adapter brackets to support the drawers are available from 12” high to 48” high and you can install any combination of drawer heights that will match the bracket height.

In a typical application, you would install a 36” to 48″ high group of drawers in an existing shelving unit. This set of drawers can be customized to suit your products.  The most common application will have a set 7 drawers with heights from 4” to 8” high.  All the drawers have full extension, so the full depth of the drawer is visible when open. These 7 drawers can replace the space taken by up to 3 shelving units, 36″ w x 12″ deep, in most systems.

Space Savings 5 to 2

So, by moving smaller parts into these drawers, you can recover several shelves worth of space in another unit. This creates the space to add another bank of drawers in the empty unit. Moving along this way, unit by unit, you can move inventory into more efficient drawer storage, leaving empty units left over at the end for new products.

For help with designing a specific application, email us at support@innovostorage.com

Innovo Storage Systems 1 Goldsmith Street Johnston, RI 02919 (401) 383-0883

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Running Out of Room? The Basics.

So, you are running out of space… What do you do now?
The first thoughts are often to find more space somewhere outside your existing building. You can consider options such as: Putting on an addition to your existing building; Renting storage containers for temporary use, Relocating to a larger facility; Using a logistics or fulfillment company to outsource a part of your operation to another location. All are reasonable options and one may be the best alternative for you. However, you should always evaluate the simplest and easiest option first.

You should FIRST look at optimizing your existing space.
There are very few warehouses, stockrooms and manufacturing facilities that are using their space to maximum efficiency and there are a few basic ideas that you can review quickly to see if there opportunities within your own facility to ‘find’ space that is not being used. It may look bad at first, but there are ways to find unused space in almost any building.

Too Much Stuff

Here are a few of the basic ways to reclaim storage space:

1. Discard or Sell Off Obsolete Inventory
Look at your slowest moving items and compare the profit generated from sales or use of these items to the cost of acquiring new storage space to keep them. Ask yourself “Would I build, buy, or rent new space just for these items?” If the answer is , “No,” consider selling these items at a discount or just disposing of them.

2. Review Your Stock Level Policies
Purchasing policies should be examined for opportunities to reduce on hand inventory by: reducing overstock levels; making smaller but more frequent purchases; or using vendor monitored just-in-time stock level programs.

3. Consider Upgrading Inventory and Order Picking Software Systems
Newer software systems allow you store items in the most efficient manner, with similar sized items stored together, rather than using a strict numerical sequencing of products or category grouping. This allows you to maximize space utilization and have the software supply product location information for efficient order picking routes.

4. Look for Air Space Above Existing Operations
In many facilities there is unused space in the areas above stock room shelving, pick rack modules, assembly and packing areas, shipping and receiving docks, etc. Installing a mezzanine over these areas or extending the existing racks to higher levels can add significant usable space to your facility.

5. Review your Storage Equipment and Systems
The overall goal would be to increase storage density by looking for alternative storage options such as: closer shelf spacing; smaller bin storage sizes; converting from conventional shelving to drawer cabinets or drawers in shelving; using product specific racking for special items, etc.

In upcoming posts, we will look at some of these ideas in more detail and offer specific ideas to help you create space where none seemed to exist before.

Innovo Storage Systems 1 Goldsmith Street Johnston, RI 02919 (401) 383-0883

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Efficient Small Parts Storage – Part II

So, you have decided to opt for maximum space utilization by organizing and storing your parts or inventory items by size, rather than in numerical order. This will allow you to customize the shelf spacing and the modular drawer heights for each group of components. But now, you think it may be harder to find items than it was when they were in straight numerical order. Well, let me help with some ideas that may actually decrease the time it takes to find items.

First of all, we should all be using computers to help us track our inventory. There are many off the shelf inventory tracking programs that allow you to record item number, type, vendor, cost, stock levels and, most important for our purpose here, storage location. A simple data base can be created to serve the same purpose or even a spreadsheet with the key pieces of information. Once entered, the information in a spreadsheet can be sorted by part number, enabling you to look up the location of any part on screen or on a printout. Many software programs now allow you to print picking lists in location order, rather than by part number.

Beyond using the computer, there are other ways to organize your components to minimize search time in your stock area.

  1. If you can obtain an analysis of your fastest moving items (your Top 20%), those items can be moved to the most convenient location for picking. These typically make up 80% of the active picks and you can reduce search and retrieval time considerably.
  2. You can group items by type, making it easier for workers to find items that way. Shelving can be labeled or color coded to indicate the type of product. In modular drawer systems, each group of drawers, or even individual drawers, can be labeled or color coded by type for faster access to different product groups.
  3. Instead of organizing strictly by type, you can group by size and then type. For example, storing a group of bolts that can range from #6 (very tiny) to 1″ diameter (very big) in the same drawer or on the same shelf makes sense logically (keeping all the Bolts together), but not with respect to space efficiency. Storing all those tiny #6 bolts, along with their matching nuts, washers and lock washers together will be the most efficient use of space.
  4. The use of Drawers-in-Shelving can increase the number of items that can be stored in the same amount of space. Designing a drawer layout to match the size of the items you need to store will maximize the efficiency of your storage. More items in less space means less walking and less searching to find the right item.

Floor-Space-Gained

Keep in mind that every business operation is unique. These general guidelines can help you get started, but we encourage you to engage the people who will actually be working in this area to provide new ideas and feedback with their suggestions. Having everyone fully involved in implementing a new system will ensure a smoother implementation.

Visit our website to learn more about 5s lean organization.

Innovo Storage Systems 1 Goldsmith Street Johnston, RI 02919 (401) 383-0883

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Efficient Small Parts Storage – Part I

How are your items arranged in your stockroom or warehouse? If you have a typical warehouse or stockroom, everything is arranged in order by part number. So, it’s easy to find everything, right?

That’s great in the beginning, but as you add new items, increasing the number of items you store, and add new items that are ‘between’ two existing item numbers, then you begin to run out of room, are forced to rearrange item locations, and things start to get a little messy.

Take a look at your shelving storage area now.

If you use bins for storage of small items, look inside the bins. Do you see a lot of space in the bins? Do you see a lot of space above the bins or boxed items before the next shelf starts? Do you have larger and smaller items next to each other on the same shelf? These are all signs that you can save space and increase efficiency in your storage area.

Efficient-Space-Drawing-STD

Now, consider storing parts by size, rather than in part number order, and you will maximize space utilization. Yes, we hear you… “But we’ve been doing it this way for years. How will anyone find anything if we change the order?” Trust us, there are ways to reorganize that will recover unused space and will still provide simple, logical and understandable location of all your items.

Efficient parts storage begins with analyzing your product mix by size. Once you have an idea of what are small, medium, and large items (whatever that means in your business), you can begin to design a layout that will work more efficiently. Grouping small items in modular drawers or on tightly spaced shelves will save an enormous amount of space. This will leave space for more of the larger items grouped on shelves spaced further apart.

Efficient-Space-Drawing-DRWRS

Your storage will be more efficient, you will use less space and find it faster and easier to pick orders.

For more ideas on how to keep track of all these changed locations and find your products easily, check out the second post in this series.

Innovo Storage Systems 1 Goldsmith St, Johnston, RI 02919 (401) 383-0883

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